An update on developments from Manchester, a mathematical teaser, and some pictures plus and update regarding my employment status.
The predicted rain has arrived at Manchester in spades, but England are still in a very strong position thanks to their efforts yesterday.
THE MATCH AS IT STANDS
Having secured a first innings advantage of 172 England batted well second time around. Sibley made a half century, Joe Root scored at a very rapid rate throughout his unbeaten half century and Burns managed 90, his dismissal triggering a declaration which left the West Indies 399 to make to win the match and England six overs to bowl yesterday evening. Broad who had terminated the first West Indies innings with extreme prejudice earlier in the day produced another magnificent spell of bowling, bagging the wickets of John Campbell (84 runs in the series for the opener, a performance reminiscent of that of another left handed attacking opener, David Warner in last year’s Ashes) and nightwatchman Kemar Roach to take his tally of test wickets to 499. The West Indies ended that mini-session at 10-2 off six overs, needing a further 389 to win. There has been no play thus far today due to the rain, but it is no longer raining in Manchester (it is rodding it down here in King’s Lynn) and the umpires have thrown down a challenge to Jupiter Pluvius by declaring that they will inspect at 3PM if there is no further rain. Of course England declared yesterday evening precisely because we were expecting little if any play today, and the forecast for tomorrow is good (and Old Trafford is, as it needs to be, a quick draining ground). Unless one of the remaining West Indies batters can somehow channel the Lord’s 1984 version of Gordon Greenidge the only question is whether we will see enough cricket today and tomorrow for England to get those final eight wickets.
SOLUTION TO YESTERDAY’S TEASER
I offered the following choices:
Brilliant had offered as it’s three possible answers less than 1, between 1 and 2, and 2. Anyone who has read about fractal geometry knows that the fractal dimension of a line is always between 1 and 2, so this selection of answers constituted a give away, reducing a three-dagger problem to a one-dagger joke.
In this case the calculations give an answer of approximately 1.33, so the correct choice from the selections I offered is b) 1.25-1.50.
Here is a published solution by Mateo Doucet De Leon:
PICTURES AND AN UPDATE
Today’s pictures are of coins. A return to employment with James and Sons Auctioneers is on the horizon, although current circumstances make it impossible to predict when this will happen, but I have agreed to do some imaging from home in the meantime, and the first consignment of stock to be imaged arrived yesterday. The auction can be viewed here. Below are some of the lots I have already imaged…
An account of yesterday’s splendidly successful auction.
On Wednesday James and Sons had a small but very important auction featuring gold coins and proof sets. We were anticipating a very considerable success, because we knew that there were bids of sufficient size on every lot that everything would sell, and we also knew that some of the items had a very large number of watchers online (one had no fewer than 17). The rest of this post tells the story of a truly amazing auction.
TUESDAY – FINAL PREPARATIONS
In view of the high value of the gold the only items that were set out on display were as many of the proof sets as I could lay out on one large table. I also made sure that the IT was all fully functional, as the last thing we wanted was for a glitch to affect this auction. I was able to enjoy the NAS West Norfolk Steak Night at The Globe later that evening in the knowledge that all had gone as smoothly as it could have (I restricted myself to a modest two pints of Ringwood Fortyniner in view of the importance of the following day).
WEDNESDAY – A DAY OF TRIUMPHS
I awoke a few minutes before my alarm was due to go off (not uncommon with me – the alarm is more insurance policy than necessity) and left my flat precisely as intended at 6:45, ensuring that there was no chance of missing the bus. Arriving at the shop, I unlocked, deactivated the alarm, then relocked the door as in view of what was in the shop I did not want customers coming in while I was there on my own. I then began to set up for the day. The auctioneer arrived not very long after me, and I was able to complete the setup, verify that everything was working and take some photographs. Before nine o’clock customers started arriving, and by 9:30 it was standing room only in the shop, as no fewer than 16 potential room bidders were present, in addition to over 60 online bidders and not a few who had put commission bids in in advance of the sale.
Lot 139 on the big screen.
THE AUCTION STARTS
The first five lots were 1974 Krugerrands which were expected to make approximately £800 each and did exactly that. Then came lot 6, the James II Guinea which was one of two items that had been the subject of a query the previous day as a result of which it had extra images above the regular image gallery for such an item. Estimated at £500-750 the interest it had attracted saw the final hammer price reach exactly £1,000.
Lot 7 was a William III Half Guinea, which in relative terms fared even better since with an estimate of £300-500 it actually went for £900!
Lots 8 to 24 inclusive were half sovereigns, and all sold well, most going for around the £100 mark. Lots 25 to 90 incluisve were…
SOVEREIGNS FROM VICTORIA THROUGH ELIZABETH II
These we knew would sell respectably, because a major and long standing client whose job is to sell gold items had put in commission bids of £180 a time on the whole lot, confirming our auctioneers valuation was on the mark. Most of the sovereigns actually sold for more than that, £190 being a common figure and a few of them going to and in some cases beyond £200. Then came…
LOTS 91-5 – THE HUGE SUCCESSES
The first four of these lots were high value gold proof sets which we were expecting to be on or around the four figure mark. Actually, and barely believable they went for £1,600, £2,000, £2,000 and £1,600 respectively!!
Lot 95 was a sovereign in a gold mount with a gold chain and 8 1mm diamonds (in otherwords a very fancy necklace). Estimate at £300-400 it eventually sold for £550.
After these it was time for…
THE REGULAR PROOF SETS
Of course after what gone before the proof sets were a little bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, but there were still a handful of highlights to come.
LOTS 113 AND 114
These were respectively a Scottish and Welsh proof set (hence the split colouring of the heading) each expected to make £8-12. The Scottish set went for £20 and the Welsh for £18
These were a mere curtain raiser for…
A 1992 proof set featuring an EEC 50p coin the rarity of which turned a £10-15 estimate into a £50 hammer price!
The next big success was…
This 1999 proof set featuring a Diana Princess of Wales £5, a bimetallic rugby £2 and Scottish coins from £1 down to 1p had an estimate of £15-20 and ended up going for £32.
Then came two successive monster successes with…
LOTS 135 and 136
Lot 135, a 2009 proof set, featuring as it did the highly prized Kew Gardens 50p, the Henry VIII £5, and the Darwin and Burns £2 coins was estimated at £100-120 but ended up going for £220!
Lot 136 was a 2010 proof set featuring a Restoration of the Monarchy £5 (350th anniversary thereof), A Florence Nightingale £2, a London £1 and a Girl Guiding 50p. Estimated at £20-25 it sold for £100!!
Not long later came…
LOT 139 – A BITTERSWEET IMAGER’S TRIUMPH
This London Underground 150th anniversary proof set had been badly misdescribed, with one of the £2 coins mentioned as featuring trains, and the roundel coin not even mentioned, but the imager’s efforts more than compensated for this. Estimated at £25-30 it attracted sufficient interest to push the final price up to £52 (and inter alia out of the imager’s reach, hence the heading of this section).
That was the last of the yearly proof sets, but there were still a few lots to go, and two of them provided noteworthy results.
LOT 148 – A SENEGALESE STUNNER
This 1975 Senegal Triple Crown, solid sterling silver, Euroafrique 150 franc coin, boxed and with a certificate was estimated at £15-20, but a lively bidding battle pushed the final price up to £48.
A STRONG FINISH
Lot 151, the final lot in this small sale, was an accumulation box containing a few good bits and some ordinary stuff. Estimated at £40-50 it ended up going for £95.
Once the auction setup had been dismantled and the last room bidders had gone it was time for me to attend to other matters. You can view a catalogue for the general collector’s auction we have next Wednesday here.
THURSDAY – PUTTING TOGETHER A PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THIS AUCTION
Yesterday morning I produced a PR piece about the success of this sale, going big on the images as well. I conclude this piece with a link and a screenshot:
An overview of James and Sons’ upcoming Gold coin and proof set auction.
James and Sons have just finished two militaria auctions, which both went fairly well, next Monday we have a general collector’s auction which contains some interesting lots, but the auction that will shape our August is coming up on the 22nd.
GOLD COINS AND PROOF SETS
We have been consigned a lifetime collection of gold coins and proof sets, and these are forming a very small (147 lots) but potentially immensely valuable auction. As well as some seriously big money items (five 1974 Krugerrands, a James II (or VII north of Hadrian’s wall) gold Guinea and a William III gold Guinea) we have a number of half-Sovereigns and Sovereigns (60 of these latter from the reigns of Victoria through to Elizabeth II, and simply because it is pure gold even a Sovereign that has no features to appeal to a collector will fetch somewhere in the vicinity of £180-200 depending on the exact price of gold on the day). A full catalogue listing can be accessed via the James and Sons website – it is the second auction to which there is a link – look for the image of the James II (VII) coin.
FROM THE IMAGE GALLERY
This section features the official press release, some of the more significant lots and a couple of proof sets that I have at least half an eye on.
The launch of a new facebook page with NAS West Norfolk connections, a bit about yesterday at work and some very interesting links.
For the benefit of new readers it is worth reminding people that I am both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic. Although the the National Autistic Society (NAS) has some paid staff at its London HQ branches are run by volunteers and branch money comes exclusively from fund-raising. This post therefore starts with some news from NAS West Norfolk that I consider worth sharing before continuing with a bit about yesterday at work which will include pictures and ending with some interesting links.
THE LAUNCH OF A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE
NAS West Norfolk’s Sports Co-ordinator, Grant Cotton, creator of the Autism Awareness Cup, has created a new facebook page to link all his activities. It can be viewed by clicking the image below:
YESTERDAY AT JAMES AND SONS
Yesterday was devoted to imaging as many of those lots for the March auction that were not yet images as possible (a catalogue for this auction, taking place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of March, can be viewed here). Most of the imaging I was doing yesterday was of coin lots. Here some pictures…
Most of these links are science related, so to clear the decks I shall start with the exception. This comes courtesy of Skwawkbox, and is a devastating indictment of Theresa May and her ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council. I agree with the Skwawkbox assessment that this should be considered as resignation matter. As another blogger, Mike Sivier, put it when commenting on this same issue: “a turd by any other name would smell as faecal and this one sgtinks of big fat lie”. To read the Skwawbox piece click here.
SCIENCE 1: FROM LIVESCIENCE
Two very different pieces from the same source here. The first deals with small things (specifically spiders), the second with something very large (a nebula).
Wolf spiders having threesomes (yes, you read that right). Female wolf spiders are noted for eating their mates after copulation, and it may be that if two males tackle the same female there is more chance of one of them not being cannibalised. For the full story please click on the image below:
This piece is about the discovery of a huge new nebula and the attendant mystery of what its light source might be. For the full story click on the image below:
SCIENCE 2: WEIT (WITH AN ASSIST FROM YOU TUBE)
It is no great secret that I am a huge fan both of Jerry Coyne’s books (Why Evolution is True and Faith Versus Fact) and of the associated blog, whyevolutionistrue. Thus I am delighted to share with you the fact that a video series on chapter one of Why Evolution Is True is now being created. Episodes 1-3 are available to watch (and highly recommended by this blogger!), and according to WEIT’s own pieceabout the series there are two more episodes to come (yay!). I have embedded the videos below (they run in sequence) – enjoy!
My 999th post on aspiblog – an appropriately quirky melange – share if you agree!
The title of this post comes from a cricket related quirk, explained by the image below, which is an extract from Mike Brearley and Dudley Doust’s book about the 1978-9 ashes series (six matches, Australia 1 England 5):
The ‘nonuple’ part of the title comes from the fact that this is my 999th post on aspiblog, and like the old Gloucestershire spinner Bomber Wells who deliberately retired on 999 first class wickets I have decided the commemorate 999 rather than the more conventional 1,000. By the way, although 999 is indubitably part of the ‘Nelson’ sequence I suspect that never mind me as someone immune to woo in all its forms even the late legendary David Shepherd might have considered that at 999 there was little to worry about (in point of fact it is 0% success rate as a score at which wickets fall – twice in first class cricket a team has scored that many – Victoria both times, against Tasmania in 1922 and New South Wales in 1926 and both times they reached the 1,000 safely and won the matches by monster margins – an innings and 666 and an innings and 656 runs respectively).
SOME RECENT FINDS
First a story which I reblogged from Why Evolution Is True yesterday, but which is so spectacular and so well presented that I am sharing a link to it today as well – click the picture below to visit:
Second, a suggestion that London should take its cue from Paris and make public transport free of charge (what are you waiting for, Sadiq?). I have already shared this on my London transport themed website, and now take the opportunity to promote it here – via two pictures, the first of which contains a link to the original article on www.independent.co.uk:
My next link concerns libraries, and the fact that they are being hit by huge funding cuts. At the bottom of the article mention is made of the library from which the most items have been borrowed this year – Norwich Millennium Library (and although that is the library I use least frequently of my three regulars my visits there are not entirely unconnected to the large number of items borrowed there!). Click here to see the original piece.
My final link in this section is appropriately cricket themed. Before getting on to it I note by way of observation that as the third day draws to a close the current test match between India and England seems to be capsizing under an overload of runs (Eng 400, Ind currently 445-7). A new cricket blog has appeared on my radar, and I introduce it to my readers by way of a link to a review of Steve James’ book The Art of Centuries.
To end this post here are some coin images from yesterday at work (on this occasion high-res scans rather than photographs as these were small lots):